Saturday, August 11, 2012

North-West Ontario Drive - Big Things Part 2

In Nipigon, Ontario, (just east of Thunder Bay) we were unable to find the large trout that was supposed to be there.  However we did find a huge Indian in a Canoe sculpture that was big enough for me to sit in as well.

Just before traveling up to English Island, we stopped in Dryden, Ontario to visit the 18-foot tall moose named Max, which stands in front of the visitor's centre and acts as the city's mascot.  Positioned next to him is a relatively smaller bald eagle which doesn’t seem to have a name.  

We didn't quite get carried off by the mosquitoes while on the island, unlike the poor man in the Upsala sculpture as described in my previous blog, but the mosquitoes definitely got their pound of flesh.  After a week, we resumed our drive in search of big things as we headed back towards Toronto, this time following the south shore of Lake Superior.

In a small community (just over 400 people as of the 2006 Census) with the awesome name of Wabigoon, Ontario, is a store cleverly designated as “Green Achers”, a pun on the 1960s TV show.  In front were sculptures made of tree trunks with intricately carved faces of old bearded men.  I especially liked the one that seemed to have legs.

Minnaki, Ontario is home to the Egli’s Sheep Farm with the giant sheep sculpture out front.  There is a large store selling wool products, a petting zoo and a children’s play area.

A giant menacing Sasquatch threatens the town of Vermillion, Ontario.  Actually, on second glance, he seems to be giving me the thumbs up rather than trying to attack me.  There was also an Indian head, which makes up for the one I couldn't find in Dorion.

Crossing over to the United States to continue our westward trek home, I did not have any planned big things sightings but encountered many pleasant surprises.  First off was the big fish in front of River Rock Inn and Bait Shop in Ashland, Wisconsin.  Not really sure what type of fish this is?

Wakefield, Michigan has a magnificent Indian Head carving entitled "Nee-Gaw-Nee-Gaw Bow - Leading Man", carved by Peter Wolf Toth.  It is beautifully set against Sunday Lake.

 The area around Marquette, Michigan turned out to be a mecca for unusual, quirky, big thing sightings.  We found Yooperland in Ishpeming, Michigan, just west of Marquette.  I learned that "Yooper" is the nickname for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  This self-proclaimed "Da Yoopers Tourist Trap" had so many fun items that it warrants its own separate blog entry.  The huge water pump and chain saw were just a few examples.

Then just east of Marquette on Highway 28 was Lakenenland .  Again, this forest wonderland of giant sculptures will get its own blog entry but here are a few photos to highlight this magical place built by artist Tom Lakenland.

Our last big thing stop was to see the iconic Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario, located at the mining museum Dynamic Earth.  I had visited this site before when I was younger but I did not remember that this nickel sculpture was from the time of King George VI and bore the old design, prior to the beaver that graces our current version.  I actually risked life and limb to get these last photos, since I was standing on top of a tall hill with a huge metal object during a lightning storm and made it back to the car just before the deluge of rain began.

I saw many delightful big things on my trek up to North-West Ontario and back. The trip was made so much better because ever step of the way,  I was accompanied by my favourite big thing of all.

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